Following the war, all the automakers were scrambling to get new hardware out the door, but Studebaker was one of the first to offer a truly new design with the Champion and Commander. With its distinctive styling and striking design, this 1952 Studebaker Champion coupe offers ground-breaking styling that still looks great today combined with durable, thrifty performance that made them a very popular choice back in the day.
The neat little Champion was the right car at the right .....
time and maybe that time has come again. The size and proportions are just about perfect and it has a slick, late-1940s look that makes folks smile everywhere it goes. 1952 was the final year of the 3rd generation Champions, and despite the dynamic design you see before you, it's actually one of the more conservatively styled Champions from this immediate post-war era. Due to high production costs and a very esoteric presentation that wasn't exactly a huge hit with the buying public, the fabled wrap-around 'greenhouse' rear window was discontinued the year before, as was the 'spinner' front grille that had many people mistaking these cars for 1949 Fords. Even though those bold choices certainly help the '47-'51 models stand apart from the crowd, the slightly more reserved 1952 Champion feel a bit more 'classic' and traditional, rather than, well, somewhat strange. The resulting unique, one-year only design coupe is much less of an oddity, but still features that beautiful Stude front end, swooping profiles, and sculpted rear end. The particular light gray color wasn't available on 1952 Studebakers, (if we had to guess, it looks like a cross between factory-colors Shell Ivory and Piedmont Gray), but it obviously looks right on the Stude's sleek bodywork. Restored some time ago, the paint is showing minor signs of use and age, but then again, it has a very honest appeal and I don't know that I'd worry about the little scratches and nicks that are only visible up close. It's a strong driver-quality little hauler through-and-through, and the doors fit well, the sculpted panels line up neatly, and that dramatic '5-window coupe' design never fails to get people talking. Plenty of bright trim is standard fare for the era, including that anglerfish style grille, and it's all in good condition that would certainly perk up a bit with a good polishing.
The interior is quite a surprise and looks remarkably fresh and bright for a vehicle of this vintage. The tan upholstery uses a period-correct gabardine cloth with beautifully matched door panels and one of the most inviting back seats we've ever seen. Black vinyl floor coverings are incredibly durable and provide a wonderful contrast, and the dashboard looks quite updated compared to what everyone else was building in 1952. The concaved interior of the dash houses quite a bit of ornate trim, including an instrument bezel housing Stude's famous half-moon speedometer and oval auxiliary gauges. The row of switches and knobs underneath control things like the windshield wipers, vents, and headlights, and remarkably the original steering wheel is still in place " in great shape and accompanied on the column by the shifter for the 3-speed manual w/overdrive transmission. There's no radio or speaker behind the mesh grille in the center, although between that space and the spacious glove compartment one could easily be installed, and dig the dashboard-mounted rear-view mirror that gives it a sporty European flair. There's also a reasonably-sized, narrow-yet-deep trunk that includes a full-sized matching spare tire and jack set.
Studebaker's reliable 169 cubic inch flathead six (aka the 2.8L) seems modest on paper, but in the lightweight Champion, particularly when paired with overdrive, it's a fun little engine. The engine bay is presented with olive green paint on the block, a correct downdraft carburetor, and many correct hoses, clamps, and other accessories that give it a very survivor-grade look. The wiring was replaced during the restoration years ago, so you get a modern alternator and 12-volt battery set-up that it much more reliable today than the old 6-volt and generator systems of yore. It has also been recently fitted with a giant aluminum radiator that helps keep the temperatures at bay, and the exhaust system gives it a great 6-cylinder grumble up and down the throttle. Underneath, the chassis is in solid condition despite all the road grime and dirt acquired over the years, with no signs of rot anywhere to report. Even without power assist, the steering is light and easy, and the brakes are fairly responsive for an original set-up. Stock gears out back give it plenty of zip around town, but with the overdrive system operating, it'll cruise on the highway at 50-60 MPH without too many complaints. Contrasting red wheels are fitted with really nice original Sudebaker 'pie crust' hubcaps, as well as an upgraded set of brand-new 225/75/15 Coker whitewall radials that are a huge improvement over the original bias-ply units.
This is a neat little car with a lot of appealing features for not a lot of money. Studebaker was on a roll following the war and even today there's a big group of guys who think they're the best thing going. Call today!